Retro Fiberglass Lampshades

Mid-Century Modern Drum Lamp Shades

mid-century modern drum lamp shade

Mid-century Modern drum lamp shade

10 inch diameter x 9 inches tall
color: rust
material: hand-stained fiberglass parchment

Drum lampshades were frequently used as the original shades on many vintage mid-century lamps; the classic, functional, and simple geometric drum shape was a response to the more elaborate and ornate trappings of traditional, old-fashioned lighting design that mid-century modern challenged.

Mid-century modern design was deprecated in the mid-1960s and 1970s, but the design aesthetic that followed (think macrame and overstuffed couches) was itself short-lived. Now, midcentury/modern design has reclaimed its prominence, and contemporary industrial design is strongly influenced by the classic mid-twentieth century design movement. Midcentury Modern is now considered classic design. MCM is arguably the most important American design movement, and it is one of the most prominent influences on contemporary design.

red fiberglass drum lampshade

Red Fiberglass Drum Lampshade

8 inch diameter x 9 inch tall
color: red

Manufactured by Meteor Lights in San Francisco, CA

Fiberglass parchment (one of the primary light diffusion materials for mid-century modern lamps) is very translucent (light transmitting), and our hand-stained colors are rich and glowing. Strong colors like red and deep blue make great accent lights, but for general illumination, task lighting, reading, etc, you may want to consider a less intense color. Another possibility would be to put the strong color on one of the smaller tiers of a multi-tier shade, and use a less strong color on the main tier. For example, let’s say you really love red, and want it in your dining room light fixture. One possibility would be to use red on the top and bottom tiers, and a color like cream or beeswax (pale earth-tone yellow) on the main tier. The predominant light color would be from the main tier, but the smaller tier or tiers would help provide the color ambiance you’re trying to achieve.

Small drum lampshades like this 8″ diameter example are great for small lamps, such as bedside or accent lamps. In the absence of a lamp harp, bulb clip adapters can be used with standard-shaped light bulbs to affix the drum shade to the lamp. Underwriters Laboratories recommends 100W max with an 8″ diameter shade (although this safety warning is moot if you use CFL or LED bulbs, because their wattages are so low. UL provides max wattage guidelines for lampshades and light fixtures, depending on the size and shape of the shade or fixture, and the materials utilized. The basic idea is to keep heat ventilating away from the lamp. When high wattages are used with narrow shades, heat isn’t dissipated as easily. The wider top of drum lamp shades ventilates heat more efficiently than cone shades with narrow tops, which means you have a wider range of wattage options with drum shades. If you have any questions about lamp safety, we’ll be glad to steer you to the right wattage for your lamp.

pink fiberglass lampshade

Small Pink Drum Lampshade

  • 6 inch diameter x 8 inch tall
  • color: pink
  • pattern: white and gold combo arcs

Made in San Francisco, CA., by Meteor Lights Custom Lighting

Small drum shades are perfect for small teardrop shapes like this midcentury ceramic lamp base. 6″ diameter shades like are often used with bulb clip adapters. Bulb clip adapters attach directly to a standard (A19) light bulb, and are attached to the shade washer ring with a finial. CFL and LED bulbs are now available in the classic standard A19 size and shape, but they aren’t as yet available in a wide range of light bulb wattages.

An important and often overlooked consideration with small lamps is that if the lamp has a turn-knob or push-through socket switch, the bottom drum shade diameter shouldn’t be so small that it’s difficult to get a hand inside the shade to operate the switch.

This page illustrates the proportional differences between 6 inch, 8 inch, and 10 inch diameter drum shades. A 6 inch diameter x 8 inch tall drum lampshade appears somewhat tube-like, because it is taller than it is wide. On the other hand, a 10 inch diameter x 8 inch tall drum shade appears more like a typical drum shade, because it is wider than it is tall. Every change in diameter and height of any drum shade affects this proportionality, so it is something to keep in mind when designing your drum shade.

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5 Responses to Mid-Century Modern Drum Lamp Shades

  1. Dave says:

    Hi there, how much is the rust drum shade these and do you ship to Canada?

    Thanks, Dave

    • The current price for the 10″ diameter drum shade can be found in the Store shopping cart or on the Lampshade Styles page.

      Yes, we do ship to Canada. The shopping cart sometimes indicates an incorrect shipping rate, so contact us directly ([email protected]) for a shipping quote.

  2. Beth says:

    Is it possible to make this Rust Shade in a bigger size?

  3. Barbara says:

    Hello I’d like to order one of your lamp shades but in a different size than shown on your website is that possible?
    It is the mid century modern drum lampshade in rust.
    The dimensions I need our 21 inches wide 21 inches wide, by 19 inches high. Same top and bottom stitching as the one shown.
    Can you give me a quote for three shades and the turnaround time please?

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